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OF BRENDA ASHWORTH BARRY
Brenda Ashworth Barry's first book was a memoir titled, Healing the Voices Within, which was never published but sponsored on a local TV station and flew off the shelves at her Healing Center in Redding California.
Her most recent work is a eight-part saga of star-crossed lovers separated by the war in Vietnam, entitled Seasons of Love and War. Brenda worked for over five years to bring the Saga alive. Six books are out now, and more books are coming soon. Be on the lookout for the summer release of Finding my heart. The first book in Secret Valley River series will be coming soon.
Brenda is a traveling writer and has her vacation rental in Florence Oregon. She and her husband can be found in their Class A motorhome watching sunsets and sunrises from all over the US. Brenda has four children three birth and one adopted, born in her heart. Her husband, who was in the military for 21 years, gave help and encouragement while writing her novel. When she's not writing she can normally be found with her two doxies and outside enjoying the scenery or on walking trails with her husband and dogs.
One night five years ago at about 3 a.m., Brenda Ashworth Barry woke suddenly and headed straight to her house’s computer room. She’d had a dream and needed to write it down. “I’d had dreams before, but never like this,” she said. “It was so vivid. I could see everything.” A series of romance and family sagas debuting this month is a testament to a dream’s drawing power. In Barry’s case, it wasn’t just the dream of becoming a published author, but she realized it was a goal, too. Barry, first started having these dreams in her 50s. She’d always been interested in dreams and the potential of human consciousness. She took courses on dream interpretation and developing their themes near her longtime home in Novato California in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Barry grew up across the street from Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato, California, during the Vietnam War. Her brother served two tours in Vietnam. “I saw firsthand what war did to the families and knew how it affected us.”
Barry married her husband who was in the Air Force, Matthew Barry, 16 years ago. He was a Master Sergeant when he retired.
She has four children and worked a varied career that included a nutritionist and the owner of three office cleaning franchises, before retiring to Roseburg three years ago.
Several writing assignments of hers were noticed by her teachers, but writing — especially fiction writing — was never a real ambition but always in her heart, she said. Copies of Barry’s first book, “Seasons of Love and War” have been showing up in some bookstores this spring. And many copies have been purchased on Amazon.com and the websites of Barnes and Nobles, Lu Lu, and at Melanges website..
She said her deal with her publisher, Melange Books, was a dream come true. Since signing with Melange, she’s enjoyed her pace. She’s nearly completed three books, with the outlines of two others committed to lengthy drafts. She has six other books committed to outlines. Her outlines, she says, run between 10,000 and 20,000 words. These stories as well were pulled in parts from dreams where she uses her creativity to fill them with life. One is set in the Appalachian Mountains, which was a problem at first, she said. “I didn’t know anything about Appalachia.” So that calls for endless hours in research.
In the first drafts of “Seasons,” Barry spelled leading man Kaylob’s name the more traditional way, “Caleb.” She said the character came to her one night and asked her to start spelling it right. The “Seasons” saga tells the story of Kaylob and Beth Anne, young lovers separated by the Vietnam War. Where Kaylob goes back for a second tour, the question is will he make it home?
For sections of the book that deal with struggle on the home front, Barry said she drew on her experience as a girl living in across from Hamilton Air Force base during the Vietnam War. One moment in particular stands out. Barry said she was baby-sitting for a woman when “the men in uniform” came to inform the woman her husband was missing in action, presumed dead and shot down. He was an Air Force Pilot.
Will Kaylob become a POW?.
As research for her book, Barry said she interviewed former POWs. She found there was much she didn’t know about the war and what the guys went through over there. She also says she faced resistance in the book world at first. Some people didn’t believe she could accurately cover her topic or that a woman should write about the Vietnam War. “It was tricky, as a woman writing a book about childhood sweethearts with the Vietnam War included,” she said.
Barry’s website features a “Seasons of Love and War” video trailer on her website and a slogan, “Stories that feed the soul.”
She’s blogged and tweeted giving leaks to her upcoming books to share with readers. She has more than 4,000 Facebook likes and over 1,000 Twitter followers.
Perhaps because she’s a new writer, Barry has a little different style of correcting her writing. To achieve a flowing, conversational tone, she reads aloud each draft to her “author assistant.” Husband Matthew has filled this role, but friend Cindy Watson puts in the most time, listening often by phone. Watson’s critiquing can be fun and helpful, Barry said it’s humorous which keeps them laughing. Once Cindy told Brenda, “It’s just sentence after sentence after sentence, and I don’t know what’s going on.” And Brenda’s response was, “Well Cindy, that’s how books are made, sentence after sentence.